Friday, July 21, 2006

Bu$hCo Marriage Czar Supports Ministry Welfare

Ron and Joan McLain, founders of Marriage Mentoring Ministries, Inc. of Fresno County, California, are pictured to the left. Mr. McLain is referenced at the start of an AP/MSNBC piece entitled “Marriage programs to get a boost from feds: Congress to spend $750 million to promote marriage, better fathers” that confirms what has long been known by people following Bu$hCo and the modern GOP. The McLain’s operation would I’m sure benefit from $800,000.00 of our money.

The articles also has coverage of Dr. Wade Horn, who first came to my attention back in early 2005 when press coverage revealed he had used $21,500.00 in taxpayer funds to hire syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher to shill Bu$hCo proposals on “strengthening marriage”. There was an additional $20,000 in grant money paid in 2002 and 2003 by Bu$hCo to have her write a report for a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative. This group was founded and lead by Dr. Horn before he began working for Bu$hCo. Ms. Gallagher is also President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Ties with Regnery Publishing, Human Events, The Manhattan Institute, … suggest Maggie’s always going to have a place on the wingnut welfare circuit.

California Congressman Wally Herger (father on nine children!) supports Dr. Horn’s efforts, although he was only one of thirty three Congressmen that did not support extension of the Voting Rights Act. As for Dr. Horn, Bill Berkowitz reveals much about the man he describes as the “marriage maven”. David Salyer offers that the name “Wade Horn” sounds like that on a porn star yet does also allege that the media has labeled him as the “chastity czar” for his support for abstinence-only sex education. Feminist and poverty organizations were hardly thrilled to have Dr. Horn nominated to his position with HHS. His connection with The Hudson Institute is also revealing. As for the porn star handle, Susan Wieler of The Washington Monthly reveals much about the actually rather pragmatic Wade Horn in explaining why he’d “gone soft” once over at HHS as an Assistant Secretary.

Concerns that at least some faith-based initiatives might violate the First Amendment remain yet the idea that these “marriage” programs will be effective seems tenuous at best. David Fein is quoted in the report and indeed his research does support the idea that financial stress and strain, plus the lack of resources for poor people when troubles do arise, often do lead to barriers to poor people getting or staying married. His “The Determinants of Marriage and Cohabitation Among Disadvantaged Americans: Research Findings and Needs” mentions many “determinants” and leaves many research needs for exploration.

Dr. Horn, who is neither a porn star (or even seemingly an expert on kids that run away or family abuse or …,) is quoted in the above AP/MSNBC piece as follows:

“Children who grow up in healthy, stable, married households don’t wake up one day and decide they want to run away to Hollywood and become street prostitutes,” said Wade Horn, the Bush administration’s point man for welfare reform. “Couples in a healthy, stable married relationship don’t come home one day and decide they want to abuse their children. This, in my view, is an exercise in limited government.”
The “… don’t wake up one day and …” offers a “simplistic” view that should work well for Bu$hCo and the “faith community” yet Ms. Wieler’s piece suggests he’s just playing the name game. Talk the Code maybe? Keep the base happy? Pass the tax cuts and deregulation and … for the Big Mules but throw the church folks some crumbs? If he’s actually serious, “healthy” could perhaps mean families where affordable health care is readily available and “stable” might mean when the economy is working for regular folks. I wonder what this advocate for fathers thinks of the soldiers that keep being sent on tour after tour to Iraq? This guy demonstrates his Bu$hCo bona fides as Horn even got a dig in at Hollywood! Karl Rove salutes you!

Obviously folks like the McLain duo are benefiting, or at least potentially could, from this “social policy”. I expect if you wanted to attend this conference you’d hear plenty of people (the links to just those presenting is massive!) salivating over the financial potential. Ministering on our dime … indeed The Lord has blessed! I expect some would be happy to provide support for Bu$hCo and the GOP as long as the money keeps coming. Saving souls from eternal damnation requires compromises I guess?

Having our tax dollars supporting Christianists and at the same time perpetuating Republican dominance truly chaps my hide. As the WaPo’s Michael A. Fletcher reminded us on Wednesday, “Bush's Poverty Talk Is Now All but Silent : Aiding Poor Was Brief Priority After Katrina”. Peace … or War!